Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/19/14

FT. WORTH, TX - JUNE 9: Danica Patrick, driver of the #16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Panoz Honda, waits during practice for the IRL IndyCar Series Bombardier Learjet 500 on June 9, 2005 at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Welcome to the first edition of Brandon’s World, a weekly column where I give my thoughts on the latest buzz going on in NASCAR this week. I hope you enjoy reading the column as much as I had fun writing it. Danica Wins Daytona 500 Pole; Patrick’s Time Comes To Question By Weight While I was abit surprised to hear that Danica Patrick won the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500, I soon realized that throughout Speedweeks, Patrick actually had one of the fastest cars in the field.  So at the same time really, I wasn’t all that surprised to hear she won the pole. While some people dislike the fact that she will lead 42 men to the green flag on Sunday, I think its great. NASCAR will gain more publicity and perhaps more exposure and fans by having Patrick lead the field to the green at NASCAR biggest race of the year. As an extra bonus, her success might just motivate young women to drive race cars and try to reach the Sprint Cup Series. While everyone was excited about the news, people around the sport were unhappy with one aspect of Patrick’s pole.  A report surfaced on ESPN.com stating that some people believe Patrick got an uneven advantage due to her weight.  For those of you who don’t already know, NASCAR rules state that for any driver who weigh less than 180 pounds, teams are required to add 10 pounds to their car for every 10 pounds down to 140 to ensure no team gains an advantage aerodynamically. At this point, everyone within NASCAR says it doesn’t really matter now.  I have to agree.  While I can understand the logic of how weight allows the car to have more downforce, it seems to me like its an old topic now.   Moving on… Budweiser Duels I don’t have much of a response about the Duels, but I will say the Budweiser Duels provided more interesting racing than the Sprint Unlimited.  The races were tight coming to the checkered flag in both Duel races.  We didn’t know who was going to win until the leader reached the start/finish line.  For those who didn’t watch the race, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch won the Budweiser Duel races and will now start third and fourth for the 500 on Sunday. Picks for the Daytona 500 Now that the starting lineup is officially set for the Daytona 500, we can now start making predictions as to who will win NASCAR’s biggest race of the year.  Here are a few drivers who I expect to be contenders come towards the end of the race. Kevin Harvick - Harvick to me is the clear cut favorite to win the Daytona 500.  He won the Sprint Unlimited race last Saturday night, and today he won the first Budweiser Duel race (for which he will start fourth for the Great American Race).  His car is really fast, so I expect him to be running up front for most (if not all) of the race. Matt Kenseth - Like Harvick, Kenseth also has a fast race car.  He proved that in the Sprint Unlimited last weekend, but he also had a great car in the second Budweiser Duel race.  For Kenseth to win the 500, it seems that he will need some drafting help because trying to get the lead by himself proves to be a challenge he can’t face alone.  I see him as a contender. Greg Biffle – Anyone say coincidence, Greg Biffle finished 2nd in the Sprint Unlimited and the first Budweiser Duel race.  I think that because he has been able to find a way to be there a the end, I believe Biffle is a contender. Austin Dillon – I know some will tell me, “Brandon, are you out of your mind!?!”  You guys might be onto something, but from what Austin Dillon has shown during Speedweeks, he is my sleeper pick for the race.  Others who I think could be a sleeper pick for the race include Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch, and Kasey Kahne. With that, its about time to get the 2013 NASCAR season underway.  Its been a long time coming, but now that its here, its been well worth the way.  I want to close by saying a quote that I’ve always said to people after finishing my side of the debate. “Thats My Opinion, Whats Yours?!”      

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